Daily Archives: August 27, 2011

Times, , , they are a changing

Nothing ever stays the same, , , change is an inevitable thing in life.

Recently I learned of a large company I’m familiar with that has gone through some major senior management change. With a new CEO comes a new CIO and the ripple effect has begun.

Trying times for the IT staff, , , and others in the company who are “high detail” people. Change can be unsettling and cause a high detail person to analyze what’s going on, , , analyze the situation quite a bit actually.

The problem is that the conclusion we usually come up with in our analysis is, “This is going to be bad for me!”

Unfortunately, we don’t arrive at something positive, , , it is almost always negative in the beginning.

Guess what, , , this recent change could be the very best thing to happen for your career.

Sounds far fetched if you are someone who actually does lose their job, , , but you know what, , , I’ve seen what looked like bad situations turn into some of the best results you can imagine.

I’m one of them. I was caught in an ugly situation one time and was eventually fired from a company that I had been instrumental in helping grow considerably over a 6-year period. Senior management changed and what had worked well in the past all of a sudden seemed to be “bad news”.

I was fired because I pushed back on some very unethical activity and what I considered to be outright theft in our company.

Being fired was a good thing and I didn’t mind that part, , , what I didn’t like was the way it was handled.

I thank my “lucky stars” this new management team ousted me from a terrible situation, , , it influenced me enough that four years later I created MDE Enterprises, Inc., , , and I could not be happier about what I do for a living.

The “cowboys” who took over the former company are long gone after doing considerable damage and the company is back to doing what we were doing before that had been successful.

Enough about the past, , , what I’m trying to convey to you is that when I speak of “coming out of a bad situation smelling like a rose”, I speak from experience, , , not some theoretical idea.

Companies change and IT organizations evolve as a result.

If you find yourself in a precarious situation, , , remember four thoughts I think are worth reflecting upon:

  1. Your situation may not be nearly as bad as you think, , , slow down and think things through before you make decisions.
  2. This could be the best thing to ever happen for your career, , , so be optimistic about the future and not your current circumstance.
  3. If you are in a good situation, appreciate it because it will eventually change, , , if you are in a bad situation, hang in there because it will eventually change.
  4. At the end of the day, you have to do what’s best for you and your family.

You can quote me if you like.  🙂

Good luck and best of success.

Firing good IT employees

Sounds pretty crazy  – right? Well, it is exactly what you might have to do one day so let me give you an example.

Let’s say your company acquires another company that is made up of ten separate entities. This company you have just acquired has also been acquiring companies but they have not consolidated anything other than Payroll and accounting processes.

This means there are ten separate entities in 10 different cities running pretty much as separate companies. That’s right, , , ten IT platforms with ten IT organizations supporting them.

One of the companies does not fit your business model, , , in fact, their clients are competitors of your company. So the decision is to shut this entity down and to eliminate the IT organization supporting it.

This is exactly a situation I had in 1994. The “odd” entity was a service bureau organization providing systems and business application services to our competitors, , , not something we wanted to continue supporting.

As the CIO it became my job to shut the “company” down because it was essentially an organization made up of programmers, business analysts, and data center staff.

They are good people, but “in the wrong place at the wrong time”, as they say.

I needed to terminate this group of employees without creating a tidal wave problem with the employees in the other nine companies. Handle this situation poorly and our company is going to have major challenges with employees and potentially clients due to the uncertainty it creates.

In addition, even though this company’s clients are my competitors, I don’t want to do anything that damages their business, , , word gets around we are a “heavy handed” company without any sensitivity to employees and clients can jeopardize  our future acquisition plans.

So, here is the plan we executed, , , the company’s manager we are going to eliminate and me.

First, we announced our decision to the staff and gave them a transition plan which included:

  • Guaranteed length of employment for 90 days
  • Bonus to help us transition
  • Outplacement support
  • Time to interview with other companies

Next, we contacted each client and gave them our plan along with a commitment to support their migration to another support company, , , up through 90 days. We met with the largest clients that made up more than 70% of the business.

We successfully transitioned the business and there were no employees who became unemployed.

The key to our success was being up front, open and honest about what was going to happen, and putting in support mechanisms to reduce the impact of “being in the wrong place at the wrong time”.

Many of these employees went on to have very successful careers.